Harry Potter, Unexpected Animagus

With the love of a good woman, Harry becomes more confident and learns to handle the embarrassment that comes from being a teenage boy as well as an unexpected animagus. Set during the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Severe Ron bashing ahead.



6. Chapter 6

Neville Longbottom stood silently in the often unused 5th floor hallway along the south side of the castle. His Uncle Algie had long ago taught him to use all of his senses when trying to determine if there was anybody else around. This was of course after Algie had dropped Neville from a second floor window to see if he could get the boy to do accidental magic. Algie had explained to the young man that most spells used to allow one to move about without being noticed only covered one of the senses at a time. An example would be the invisibility spell. Sure you couldn't see the person but that didn't keep them from making noises. If the spellcaster thought to muffle their sounds, no one but an Unspeakable thought to mask their scent as well, something Algernon Croaker knew well.

Closing his eyes, Neville focused on the information provided to him by his nose and ears. When he was sure there was no one else in the quiet corridor, he pressed a waist high brick next to a door in front of him. The brick warmed suddenly and he heard a click from the door, letting him know it was unlocked. With a last glance down both ends of the hallway, Neville let himself into an unused classroom that his friends now called "The Lair."

Neville walked into the room to a chorus of, "Hi Neville!" coming from the other five occupants of the room. Harry and the twins were standing next to several hanging maps of the castle. Posted next to the maps were the prefect rosters for each House along with their respective patrol schedules. One of the twins (Neville still couldn't tell them apart) pointed to something on the map causing Harry to shake his head no as he gestured to the Hufflepuff roster.

Hermione and Luna were sitting at a table located under one of the high windows that allowed in lots of natural light. Obscure books littered the table along with the parchments Hermione had used to take notes on. In the center of the table was the marauder Notebook. Neville watched as Hermione looked from the Notebook to an ancient tome she had open next to it. After cross referencing two more times, Hermione leaned back with a bemused expression on her face. "I never imagined the rune work on that would be so simple," she muttered.

Luna looked up from her own research and glanced over at what Hermione was reading. Her fast Ravenclaw mind made the connection Hermione has just done. "Really? That's all it takes?" she asked, her expression changing from amusement to happy excitement.

"I checked the calculations twice," Hermione assured her friend. She reached into her bookbag and withdrew a fist sized, clear crystal. "Hand me the rune etcher, please," she ordered. Luna happily obliged by reaching over to a low cabinet placed under the window next to them.

"Hi Hermione… Hi Luna!" Neville called out as he walked over to their table. He blushed slightly at the smile the young blonde gave him when he stopped next to her. Neville watched Hermione put on a pair of dragonhide gloves and a pair of strange, completely see through muggle glasses that she had called eye protectors before she started etching the crystal.

"Hermione just figured out a way to tell if someone has the inborn ability to be an animagus," Luna said proudly of her friend.

"There…" Hermione muttered as she finished etching the runes into the bottom of the crystal. She took off one of the gloves and held the crystal in her bare palm. The clear crystal changed color and started giving off a gentle, blue light. "Yes!" she exclaimed, causing Harry and the twins to stop what they were doing and head over to her table. "Here Luna, you next," Hermione said rapidly as she handed over the crystal.

The crystal remained a pleasant blue color in Luna's hands. "Take that Nargles!" Luna laughed. Without warning, she tossed the crystal to Neville saying, "Your turn, Neville!" As soon as the crystal left her hand, it went back to being clear. When he caught it after clumsily bouncing it from one hand to the other, it took on it's previous blue glow.

"Uh… what is it?" Neville inquired curiously.

"The crystal is enchanted to turn blue when held by someone with the potential to become an animagus," Hermione explained. The boy who some thought was only a step above a squib smiled when he realized he was among the small percentage of magic users gifted with this special talent.

"Toss it here, Nev," George requested, grinning in anticipation. Neville tossed the stone which George caught easily. His face lit up in rapture when the crystal took on the now familiar blue glow. Fred's face was a mirror of his twin's when it remained blue in his hands. Their dream of following in the footsteps of the original Marauders was taking a huge stride forward.

Curious as to how the crystal would react, Fred tossed the crystal to Harry. Fred purposefully threw the crystal slightly over Harry's shoulder, wanting to keep their team's seeker on his toes. With barely a glance, Harry's hand shot out and snagged the crystal in midair. When the crystal touched his skin, the light it gave off was so bright that it blinded everyone in the room for a few moments.

When the purple spots in front of their eyes finally went away, everyone looked at the crystal in Harry's hand. The once clear crystal was now black with a small bit of smoke curling up from a large crack that had appeared on the side. "Sorry about your crystal, Hermione," Harry apologized as he put the crystal back down on the table.

Instead of looking put out, Hermione's grin had actually gotten bigger. "Are you kidding, Harry?! This is fantastic!" she replied.

"Huh?" the men in the room inquired in unison.

Luna rolled her eyes and reached over to Hermione's side of the table and picked up a book that looked old enough to be one of Merlin's textbooks. She flipped through the pages to find what she was looking for. When she finally found it, she turned the book around to show the boys. "Hermione and I found a ritual that creates a condition that artificially triggers a response similar to an Unexpected Animagus transformation," she explained.

Hermione took over the narrative. "We are halfway there when it comes to being able to perform the ritual. The ritual requires five animagus potentials and one very powerful animagus to act as their guide in the dream realm," she stated.

The twins were nearly vibrating with excitement. "Wicked!" Fred exclaimed. "What do we need to need to complete the ritual?" he asked eagerly.

At that question, the girls' expressions darkened. "That's the sticking point, we need a Calthamic conjuring circle," Hermione admitted.

"Why is that a problem?" Harry asked.

"The last Calthamite temple was destroyed just after the founding of Hogwarts. We have no idea where to find one now and there were never any diagrams made of them so we don't know how to recreate it," Hermione replied, her earlier enthusiasm rapidly swirling down the drain. She planned on hitting the library as soon as she could in hopes of finding at least a written description of the runes used in the conjuring circle.

A polite cough from the center of the room startled the new Marauders, causing them to turn quickly to look at who had managed to sneak into The Lair. The special locking charm they had adapted from one of Moony's spells in the Notebook should have kept out everyone short of the Headmaster. They all relaxed slightly when instead of the old, white haired man with the ridiculously long beard, they saw Dobby wave a timid hand in greeting.

The House Elf had changed slightly from when Hermione and Harry had last seen him. He looked more confident and almost dashing in his dark red, silk pillowcase that had a gold curtain braid tied around his waist as a belt. In the right sort of light, his ensemble almost made him look like a Roman noble. Harry also managed to notice his strange friend had bags under his eyes as if he had been exhausting himself for several days in a row. As for Dobby's eyes themselves, they had also changed slightly. His once yellow irises now had a jade green ring around them. "Dobby knows where the great Harry Potter and his friends can find the magic circle they need," the House Elf said with a grin.

****Unexpected Animagus****

Dobby led the new Marauders up to the left hand hallway on the seventh floor. He stopped at a magical tapestry showing Barnaby the Balmy trying to teach a group of trolls to dance. "We is here," Dobby exclaimed happily, his ears flapping up and down in his joy at being able to do something for Harry.

Hermione looked at the floor and then over to Dobby. "Um, Dobby… I don't see any conjuring circles here," she said softly, not wanting to offend the odd little fellow.

Everyone chuckled when Dobby rolled his eyes at Hermione, their large, almost tennis ball size making the gesture overly dramatic. "Of course there not being any magic circles in the hallway. The circle can be found in the 'Comes and Goes' room," he replied, pointing one of his long fingers at the wall opposite of the tapestry.

"What's the 'Comes and Goes' room?" Neville wondered out loud.

Dobby walked over and placed his hand on the bare stone wall. "The Comes and Goes room can be anythings yous wants or needs. All yous needs to do is walk back and forth three times in front of the tapestry of the silly wizard about to be buggered by trolls while thinking hard about what yous be needing," he explained. "Um… Dobby should warns yous not to walk back and forth three times while actually thinking about being buggered by trolls. Bad and painful things happen," he added.

"Oh… I get it," Luna exclaimed. "Since the room changes depending on what you need, it will probably change every time you use it. The room comes and goes, thus 'Comes and Goes' room," she stated.

Dobby cocked his head to the side and thought about what Luna had just said. "Hummm… Dobby never thought of it that way, but that works too," he said with a shrug of his tiny shoulders.

Hermione rubbed her forehead with her hand and muttered, "I know I'm going to regret asking this, but why do you call it the 'Comes and Goes' room, Dobby?"

Dobby pointed down the hall to a similar tapestry hung at waist level. "The castle also has a Comes and Goes room for House Elves. It's being a very popular place for House Elves to go and practice making House Elf babies. It's being so popular of a room that there is a waiting list the House Elves have to be getting on to use the room. Almost all the House Elves is being very considerate of others and want everyone to get their turn. So…" he explained.

Hermione pinched the bridge of her nose, her earlier premonition being correct. "No… don't say it Dobby," she pleaded.

Since she was not his mistress, yet, Dobby could ignore her order. "... after boths of the House elves comes, theys goes so the next House Elves can have their fun," he finished.

Luna giggled and the boys chuckled when they realized what Dobby was saying. Not wanting things to spiral farther, Hermione purposefully strode back in forth in front of the tapestry three times while focusing on needing a Calthamic conjuring circle to complete their ritual. After her third time walking back and forth, an oak door that was stained a comforting brown appeared on the wall opposite of them. Without looking back, Hermione opened the door and hurried through. Harry gave Dobby an apologetic shrug and followed his girlfriend. Dobby waved cheerfully as the others followed into the room. The door faded from view after the humans were inside.

Dobby let out a weary sigh and leaned against the tapestry as soon as he knew the great Harry Potter could no longer see him. Ever since he had taken advantage of a situation that had fallen in his lap, Dobby had received very little rest. He had used Harry Potter's need of him when the young wizard's backside was on fire to bond with Harry. As with all voluntary Wizard / Elf bondings, Dobby had taken on some of the physical traits of his new master after they had bonded. Even Dobby was shocked at the size difference of his little Dobby the first time he had seen it after they had bonded. Dobby idly wondered if he would have even been able to even see his penis if he had voluntarily bonded with Lucius Malfoy. With a start, Dobby suddenly realized that he forgotten once again to tell the great Harry Potter that they had been bonded.

While Dobby was contemplating things, a female House Elf wearing a clean, white tea towel walked back and forth three times in front of the House Elf Comes and Goes room. After walking into the room, she held her slender arm out of the door and dropped her tea towel on the floor, a clear invitation for Dobby to join her. "Fifth time today," Dobby sighed with exhaustion. He looked again at the blank wall where the human Comes and Goes room was and shrugged his shoulders. "Dobby can always tell the great Harry Potter we is bonded later," he muttered with a grin as he pulled out a vial of pepper-upper potion from the inside of his pillow case. With a practiced motion, Dobby uncorked the vial and swallowed the potion in one gulp. His ears flapped rapidly up and down as steam billowed out of them. Dobby vanished the vial back to the storeroom to be refilled with a snap of his fingers. His goofy grin was one Hermione had seen on Harry right before some of their more intense snogging sessions. Dobby let out a happy, but still somewhat tired chuckle and ran to the smaller room, not wanting to keep a lady Elf waiting. Right before he was grabbed and pulled into the House Elf Comes and Goes room, Dobby muttered, "It's good to be Harry Potter's House Elf!"

****Unexpected Animagus****

The new Marauders stood in the center of a cavern large enough to play Quidditch in. They could barely make out the ceiling high above them, the light from the torches bolted to the walls just barely reflecting from that height. The Marauders were standing next to a conjuring circle carved into the rock floor. The circle had two outer rings that were full of strange runes that ran the entire way around it. Inside the innermost ring was a six pointed star with a large rune array in the exact center. "So now what?" Harry asked.

"Now we have to sacrifice a young girl's virginity on top of the circle. Come along, Neville," Luna said as she grabbed Neville's hand and started leading him to the center of the circle. Neville was in shock and allowed himself to be led away.

"Luna, the instructions say nothing of the sort!" Hermione chided the younger girl.

"Hush, Hermione!" Luna countered as she started to undo the buttons on Neville's white school shirt.

"LUNA CELESTE!" Hermione said forcefully as she put her hands on her hips.

Luna stopped undressing Neville and pouted at Hermione. "Are you SURE there isn't a part about sacrificing a girl's virginity somewhere in the instructions?" she pleaded.

"I'm sure, Luna," Hermione replied.

"Oh… poo!" Luna snorted and stepped away from the center of the circle, her mind already coming up with other plans to get Neville to have sex with her.

Harry was trying very hard not to laugh at Neville's expression which was equal parts relief and disappointment. The twins weren't trying nearly as hard as Harry and were chuckling at their housemates dilemma. "Like I said, what's next?" Harry asked Hermione.

Hermione looked at a basket of herbs and flowers sitting on the ground a few feet away from the conjuring circle. "Okay, here is what we do. We place those herbs and flowers in the center of the circle and then we each take a seat at one point of the star," she instructed them. Harry nodded his head and picked up the basket. When he neared the center of the circle, a large bronze bowl appeared in the exact center. Taking the hint, Harry dumped out the contents of the basket into the bowl. He then sat down at the point of the star opposite him. The others soon joined him with Hermione sitting on his left. To her left George and Fred took the next two points of the star. Luna took the next point leaving Neville to take the point of the star on Harry's right. Once they were all seated, Hermione pointed her wand at the bronze bowl and whispered incendio. A thin string of flame shot out of her wand at the contents of bronze bowl. Soon, a sweet smelling, purple smoke lightly filled the cavern.

After a few minutes of breathing in the smoke, they all started to giggle. "[chortle]… not that I'm complaining mind you, but when do we [snicker] get to the part about our animal forms?" George asked, a big dopey smile on his face. As if in answer to his question, Neville's eyes first crossed and then rolled back into his head as he fell backwards, his grin never leaving his face. Luna was the next to pass out. George and Hermione lost consciousness at roughly the same time.

Fred caught Harry's eyes and chuckled, "See you on the other…" before he fell over. Harry looked around at his friends and shifted his legs out from under him so he could lay down comfortably. When his back was on the stone floor, his eyes closed, transporting him to the dream realm.

Harry opened his eyes and sat up. He quickly looked around to get his bearings. He and his friends were on a large stone circle floating in what looked like an endless, gray expanse. In every direction he looked, all he saw was swirling, gray mist. Not sensing any danger, he shrugged his shoulders and went to Hermione first and then to each of his other friends, waking them up. Once they had all had time to take in the boring landscape, Harry asked Hermione, "What do I do now? You said I was supposed to guide you guys to your animagus forms."

Luna answered before Hermione could. "Actually, it's your animagus form that is supposed to guide us," she told him.

"Oh… okay," Harry said as he cautiously walked to the edge of the circle. Keeping most of his weight on his back foot, he extended his front foot over the edge to test if there was something solid he could stand on. To his surprise, the mist held him and he was able to walk on it. Feeling more confident, he walked away from the circle to give him room to transform. He closed his eyes and focussed on his draconic side. After a few moments, Harry opened up one eye and peeked at the circle where his friends stood. He was still looking at them from his normal eye level instead of from above like when he was a dragon. He closed his eyes again and tried to focus harder. When nothing happened, he walked back to the stone circle. "Sorry guys, nothing," he apologized.

Hermione gave Harry a reassuring hug before she bit her bottom lip, deep in thought. "I wonder…" she muttered. When she saw everyone was looking at her she blushed slightly in embarrassment. "Sorry, I was just thinking about what the instructions said. It said that once we found ourselves in the dream realm, the powerful wizard would call forth his animagus form. I wonder if it was being literal," she mused.

Harry stood with his back to the outer edge of the circle. "Okay… so what am I supposed to do? Just yell out 'Come here, Scorch! Here boy!" he asked. As soon he stopped talking, Hermione's eyes widened as she looked over his shoulder. One by one the other Marauders followed suit.

Shaking off the slight shock first, Hermione smirked at her boyfriend and gestured behind him. "Harry, I would like to introduce you to Scorch," she offered.

Harry slowly turned around and then took a startled step backwards when he found himself nose to nose with a very large, red dragon. "Holy crap! I'm huge!" he exclaimed.

"We know, mate!" George agreed.

"We've been trying to tell you that since that fateful locker room incident in your first year," Fred added. Scorch blew a smoke ring around the twins to let them know he / Harry weren't amused.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Can we proceed?" she asked the twins. The twins gave her an unrepentant smile but nodded their heads yes.

"Ok Scorch, show time," Harry said, feeling slightly awkward since he was in all actuality talking to himself. For his part, Scorch moved his long neck to the left somewhat and let out a loud bellow. The mist where his head was pointed started to swirl faster and grow thicker.

The moment when they were able to make out a shape starting to form in the mist, Hermione felt drawn to whatever was coming towards them. She wasn't all that surprised when a chocolate brown kneazle with gray tufts of fur at its ears and at the tip of its tail walked quietly up to her. This was obviously a pure bred kneazle seeing that it was easily twice the size of Crookshanks or equal to that of a large dog. When the kneazle reached the stone circle, it walked around Hermione as if it were judging her. As it stalked around her, various parts of its body vanished and then reappeared. Eventually the kneazle stopped in front of Hermione and rubbed its large head against her hand. As Hermione scratched the creatures ears, everything but the kneazle's head vanished. Still scratching behind its ears, Hermione reached out her other hand and stroked the soft fur of the invisible body. "I can feel her body. It's solid, just invisible," she explained to her friends.

"Woo Hoo! I was hoping something like this might happen," Luna exclaimed. The rest of the Marauders looked at her, waiting for her to explain. "Since Harry's animagus form is a very magical creature, I was hoping that the forms he lead us to would be magical as well. Hermione form is a very rare type of kneazle only found near the county of Cheshire. This type of kneazle has developed the power of invisibility. They have developed the ability to such a degree that they can make just parts of their body invisible leaving the rest," she stated.

"How do you know so much about them?" Hermione asked.

Luna put her hand on her hip and gave Hermione a stern look, mimicking the older witch's "displeased pose". "Honestly Hermione, I would think the answer would be obvious. My family is known for their research into the rarest of magical animals," she mock chided her friend. "That and my great, great grandmother Alice Lovegood had one," she admitted.

Hermione really didn't want to think about the implications of one of Luna's ancestors who was named Alice owning a Cheshire kneazle. To change the subject, she turned to look at the kneazle's pretty brown eyes and said, "So, what should we call you? Hmmm… let me think."

Harry put his hand on Hermione's shoulder and pulled her back slightly. "Sorry, Hermione, but you know the know the rules. You aren't allowed to choose your own Marauder name," he reminded her. Luna shot her hand up in the air. "Yes, Luna. Do you have a name suggestion?" he asked.

"Yes, I do. Let's call her Flaberta Tineal Stinklebottom the Third," Luna suggested, still a little miffed that Hermione had ruined her attempt to shag Neville.

"Ahhh… no," Harry replied. He had noticed Hermione's animagus form start to fade away during Luna's suggestion and then suddenly go solid again when he spoke up for her. "How about Fade?" he suggested.

"Yes! I love it!" Hermione replied quickly before the twins could come up with a name to top Flaberta Tineal Stinklebottom the Third. For her part, Fade nodded her head, sat down, and started bathing herself by licking her paws.

Scorch nodded his head in agreement with the name and bellowed again, calling out the next animagus forms for the twins. The human Marauders turned to face the outside of the circle to see what would come next. Twin pops from the center of the circle startled everyone but Scorch and Fade. The humans quickly turned around to see twin monkeys about the size of a House Elf dancing around the ritual star. The monkeys had golden fur over most of their bodies except for their faces which were snow white. Long white fur along their cheeks and jaws gave the monkeys the appearance of having long, handlebar mustaches. With a sudden pop and a small bit of red smoke, the monkey on the right of Fred disappeared and then reappeared on top of Neville. The monkey used its prehensile tail to loot through his pockets while it distracted Neville by making funny faces at him. When it didn't find anything interesting in Neville's pockets, the monkey tweaked the young wizard's nose and then apparated back to where it was a moment ago.

"Any idea what these two are?" Hermione asked Luna.

Luna was unable to answer for a moment as she was laughing at the monkeys who were currently imitating the motions the twins were making. When she got herself back in control, Luna nodded. "These two trouble makers are Tibetan Chaos monkeys. They can apparate at will and their magic causes strange things to happen near them. The local villages closest to the monkey colony got together and built a temple for the monkeys in hopes of getting their lives back to some semblance of normal. After rounding up all of the Chaos Monkeys and sticking them in the temple, the local wizards obliviated the location from everyone, including themselves. My father has made two trips to Tibet trying to locate the Hidden Temple of Weefleeng Pu," she told her friends.

Hermione watched the antics of the twin monkeys and came up with an appropriate name for them. Her idea would also throw people off when they tried to figure out the identity of the Marauders. "Let's call these two Janus. He was a Roman god who had two faces. He was in charge of beginnings and endings. If we call them both Janus, it might keep others from realizing there are two of them and it keeps us from having to tell them apart. Plus, if they really annoy us, we can just drop the 'J' in their name," she suggested.

The twins quickly spelled out the name in their heads and then dropped the first letter. "Hey!" the exclaimed at the same time.

Harry, Luna, and Neville smiled at the twins reaction and the said in unison, "Janus it is!" sealing the name to the monkeys.

Luna hopped up and down in excitement as Scorch bellowed a third time. A small disturbance around what they perceived as ground level in the mist drew everyone's attention. Hermione had been trying to brace herself for just about anything knowing Luna like she did and was surprised when a cute, white bunny hopped out of the myst. The only thing to immediately distinguish this bunny from any other rabbit were the yellow slitted eyes. Luna clapped her hands happily and then suddenly reached out to stop Neville from approaching the bunny. "You don't want to do that, Neville. She's a VCR," she warned softly. Neville turned to face her and swallowed in fear. He had learned all about rabbits, both magical and otherwise, while he learned how to protect his precious plants from being eaten.

"A VCR? The Dursleys owned one and they said they watched movies on it. I was never allowed to watch with them, but I'm pretty sure it's hard to watch a movie on something that keeps twitching it's nose like that," Harry stated, clearly confused. From her expression, Luna could tell Hermione was confused as well.

"V-C-R it stands for Very Carnivorous Rabbit. They are also known in some parts of the world as vabbits," Luna explained. Seeing that the others still didn't quite understand what she was trying to say, Luna closed her eyes and conjured a simulacrum of Draco Malfoy next to the bunny. With a horrible cry, the bunny bared its long fangs and viciously attacked the human. Hermione turned away and buried her head in Harry's chest to avoid looking at the carnage. Fred had jumped into the arms of his brother who was now holding him bridal style. Neville and Harry were both finding a sort of sick fascination in watching their Slytherin nemesis being torn limb from limb. Janus had apparated away and were both cowering behind Scorch's front legs. Fade was looking over with some interest, wondering if the vabbit would share its meal. She got her answer when less than five minutes later, the bunny had devoured all of Draco leaving only his scraped clean skull.

Luna snapped her fingers and the image of the skull vanished back into the mist. "Her name is Velma. Velma the Vabbit," she proclaimed in clear violation of the not being able to chose your own nickname rule. The others were too disturbed by what they saw to argue with her.

Scorch turned his head to look at the mist beyond Neville while still keeping an eye on Velma. He bellowed a fourth time and soon afterwards a large disturbance could be seen forming in the mist. Scorch had a smug look on his face and then winked at Harry while subtly nodding his head towards Neville. Loud footfalls resonated from the mist as a two story tall creature walked out of the mist towards them. The creature was some sort of combination of tree and animal that walked on two legs. It's bark was light brown with vines that snaked their way up his trunk. Two large branches served as his arms which ended in a branching of limbs that looked like hands. The creature's eyes were solid black and a slit in the wood served as his mouth. Moss above the eyes gave the impression of eyebrows. Without any sign of fear, the large creature leaned down and picked up Velma. With the vabbit cradled gently in the crook of one of his limbs, he gently stroked her fur with his other "hand".

"That's not fair!" Fred exclaimed in mock jealously.

"Yeah! We get monkeys and Neville is a bloody Ent!" George added. Their smiles took away any sting their comments might have had.

"Guys, I know exactly what we have to call Neville's animagus form. Problem is you won't get the reference until I have the Comes and Goes room reproduce some reading material for you. You just need to trust me on this," Hermione said with a mischievous grin.

****Unexpected Animagus****

Remus Lupin sat down at the end of the Gryffindor table eagerly awaiting the evening meal. His faithful four legged companion was sitting on the floor next to him. A week prior, they had received a parchment addressed to "Messieurs Padfoot and Moony." Other than the greeting, the parchment was blank. The old Marauders had shared a quick grin before Sirius tapped his wand on the parchment and said the Holy words, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good!" The blank page was replaced by an invitation to the last of the old Marauders to come join the school in welcoming the new Marauders to its hallowed halls.

The older Marauders had arrived early and had spent the afternoon trying to get Harry to tell them what was in store for the evening. Harry had flat out refused saying that he didn't want to ruin the surprise since they had worked many long hours on their inaugural prank. He did however tell them the new Marauders were using the larger prank as a diversion for what Harry had called "Operation O-Face."

Remus smiled to himself as he let his eyes roam over the Great Hall. A small rune etched into the candle holder in front of him drew his attention. He casually looked at another candle holder a few feet away and saw an identical rune. Curious, he leaned forward to scoop up some more roast onto his plate giving him a closer look at the rune. He felt a sudden surge of pride when he realized it was two runes joined together. The first was a lighting and dowsing rune connected to a remote activation rune he had developed during his seventh year at school.

Remus leaned back on the bench and gave the Great Hall another look now that he knew they were using runes. He saw a small, wooden block etched with runes hanging from one of the rafters high above him. Remus knew that the control runes for the enchanted ceiling were engraved on that particular rafter. He gave a very small nod of approval at the younger Marauders' choice in using a wood block to store their own runes. Wood was an excellent choice when employing single use runes since the wood tended to burn up after use, leaving no evidence behind. His eyes drifted farther up onto the ceiling and he squinted to make out what he saw. "Is that a portable dung-bomb launcher?" he silently wondered.

The last thing Remus noticed was that Harry and Hermione's friend, Luna, was missing. He wouldn't usually think anything of it since the quirky Ravenclaw had been missing for several meals while he had been a teacher the previous year. Now however, he knew his honorary nephew thought of Luna as a close friend and would have been worried if she weren't there. Remus looked over at Harry who was chatting cheerfully with Neville and Hermione. The werewolf closed his eyes and ran through the scents he was picking up to see if Luna was nearby under Harry's invisibility cloak. The unique smell of her radish earrings came from just behind him. He flinched slightly when he realized the invisible girl had been behind him the whole time.

"Very good, Professor. I was wondering when you would notice me. Stubby Boardman realized I was here about five minutes ago," Luna whispered. She leaned down and whispered to the large, black dog, "Thanks again for getting me a press pass to the special concert. The announcement of Boardman and Bowie doing a gig together after all these years was quite the scoop for the Quibbler." Luna straightened up and whispered into Remus' ear, "Show's about to begin." Remus rubbed his hands together in anticipation while Sirius' tail wagged just a little bit quicker. When Luna saw Harry tap his plate twice, she touched her wand to the first activation rune, starting the evening's entertainment.

As if they were turned off with a light switch, all of the candles (both in the chandeliers and on the tables) and torches suddenly went out. The enchanted night sky above the students became dark as storm clouds rolled in, blocking out the stars and the moon. An occasional flash of lightning streaked from cloud to cloud.

The quiet murmurs of the students died instantly when a deep, commanding voice boomed from the sky. "In the beginning, there was fun. The four friends looked at the fun and saw it was good, but soon others came to ruin the fun. The fun was smothered by acts of cruelty, bigotry, and general douche baggery. The friends could not let this be, so the Marauders were born to fight back and bring back fun to the mortals of Hogwarts. These Champions of Fun were known as Prongs, Moony, Padfoot, and Wormtail," the voice told them. The sky lightened as the image of a majestic stag appeared in the sky. The stag winked at the students and stepped aside so they could see the images of a great wolf and a grimm playing tennis on a hillside. The illusion drew closer and the tennis ball could now be seen as the form of a rat that squeeked every time a racquet hit it. "The Marauders brought fun back to Hogwarts for a time but eventually they moved on," the voice said. The images faded away to be replaced by the dark, swirling clouds.

The lightning increased in the enchanted sky making the clouds look angry. "Once again, cruelty, bigotry, and general douche baggery has threatened to overwhelm Hogwarts. The cries of the victims of these acts can no longer be ignored. The time for the Marauders return is at hand!" the voice boomed.

The sky lightened a bit as the huge face of a red dragon suddenly appeared, hovering over the Great Hall. No one other than the Marauders themselves knew that the tell tale white scar on the dragon's forehead had been covered up with a generous amount of red stage makeup. The dragon spoke with the same voice the students had been hearing. "I am Scorch," the dragon said, identifying himself.

The dragon faded away and was replaced by the furry face a giant, brown kneazle. "My name is Fade," she said in a sexy contralto.

The kneazle's image disappeared as well to be replaced by the cuddly sight of a white bunny with yellow eyes. "Hello, I'm Velma," the bunny said in a sweet, childlike voice.

The bunny disappeared to be replaced by a golden monkey twirling the end of his mustache. "Master Janus at your service," he claimed and bowed deeply before fading away.

Madam Sprout's eyes went wide as the image of an Ent formed above the Great Hall. The Ent leaned closer to let the students get a better look at his surprisingly expressive face made of wood. The face tilted first one way and then the next before saying, "I am Groot." This caused a second year Hufflepuff by the name of James Harrington to fall out of his seat in shock and joy for not only was the young wizard a Muggleborn, but he was also a rabid collector of Muggle comic books. No one knew that Hermione Granger had taught herself to read at a very young age with her father's collection of the same comics.

Suddenly the Ent faded from view while the image of Scorch filled the sky again. "Beware those who practice cruelty for cruelty sake," he warned before exhaling a stream of fire that swept over the Great Hall. Many students shrieked and hid under the tables, but felt foolish when the fire did not burn them and only managed to relight the candles on top of the tables. A few students grinned at each other in the candle light.

Scorch disappeared once again to be replaced by Fade. The giant kneazle seemed to be staring at the Slytherin table. "Beware those who practice bigotry," she warned before suddenly swiping at them with her illusionary paw. As her paw swept harmlessly past them, Luna triggered another remote rune causing the green and silver banner hanging on the wall to shred as if it had been struck by Fade's claws.

Fade disappeared to be replaced by the cute face of Velma. The bunny seemed to be looking directly at Ravenclaw table. She let loose a bowel weakening howl and then bared her razor sharp fangs. Without another warning, Velma lunged at the table only disappearing the instant before her gigantic mouth would have closed on the Ravens. Several students, including Cho Chang wet themselves in fear. Knowing that was his cue, George stood up and raised his hand. "Okay, let's be honest here. Who just shit themselves?" he inquired. He kept his hand up and added, "Come on… we're all friends here."

Professor Dumbledore lifted his hand into the air which gave several students the courage to admit they had done the same. Professor McGonagall leaned over to her old friend and whispered, "I think he means in fear."

"Oh…" was all Dumbledore said before lowering his hand.

Janus appeared and glared down at George. "May we continue?" he asked in annoyance.

"Sorry," George muttered and sat down hurriedly showing his great skills as an actor.

The monkey slowly looked from table to table before speaking. "Beware… ah, enough of this formality. If you are douche bag, we are going to get you, make no mistake. And by douche bag, I mean you Snivellous Snape!" the monkey promised, pointing his golden finger at Snape. With a simian shriek, the monkey reached for something behind him and flung whatever it was at the potions professor. Luna timed the remote response rune perfectly and triggered the dung-bomb launcher at just the right time. The dung-bomb was concealed by the illusionary poo and exploded when it struck Snape's plate. They had angled the launcher so the poop explosion would only cover Snape. Janus quickly disappeared with what sounded like a satisfied laugh.

Snape wiped the stinky sludge from his eyes and screamed, "Potter! I'll see you expelled for this!"

Snape's shout was just what the new Marauders had been hoping for. Groot reappeared and shook a "finger" at him in a shaming motion. "I am Groot!" the Ent said firmly. This caused Harrington to silently scream "YES!" while pumping his fist in the air.

Groot faded away to be replaced by Scorch. "What my eloquent friend is trying to say is that you can't have it both ways, Snivellous. You always insist that Harry Potter is nothing more than an arrogant, mediocre wizard who has talent that puts him just barely above squib level. Now you are accusing him of spell work you would be hard pressed to accomplish, not saying you actually would be able to accomplish it mind you, but you get the idea," Scorch chided the greasy haired potions instructor.

While Scorch was speaking, Luna silently crept over to the Slytherin table and added three drops of a certain potion to Draco Malfoy's goblet of pumpkin juice. The Dragon's loud voice covered her whispered compulsion charm making Draco suddenly very thirsty. He grabbed the goblet and down the entire contents before putting the goblet back on the table. She crept away on tip toes ,trying not to let a maniacal laugh slip past her lips.

Scorch faded away and was replaced by Janus who started talking in a thick, fake German accent. "Hummm… perhaps vat ve are seeing here is actually the outer manifestations of Snape's predilection for young boys. His unrequited lust for young Mr. Potter has left the poor fellow unhinged," he surmised.

Snape pulled his wand and aimed it at the monkey. "Why you…" Snape started to yell before he froze when he realized the monkey was holding something behind its butt. Snape lowered his wand and stalked out of the Great Hall. Unfortunately for the rest of the teachers, his trick with the billowing robe caused the stench of dung-bomb to spread even more.

The Professor McGonagall bit her lip and dug her fingernails into her palms to keep herself from laughing at her fellow teacher. Scorch looked over at her and gave the Head of Gryffindor a mischievous wink. This tipped the scales and the usually stern teacher let loose with a burst of laughter. Scorch nodded his head happily and then looked at the students. "Rejoice, Mortals, for the Marauders have returned!" he announced before the enchanted ceiling went back to showing the night sky as if nothing had happened.

Professors Flitwick and Babbling were both clapping their hands loudly in appreciation of what they had just seen and not just at Snape being made to look like a fool. Babbling was about to tell Flitwick that she couldn't decide which was more impressive, the applied runes or applied charms when a disturbance at the Slytherin table distracted her. Draco Malfoy had suddenly thrown his head back and was gripping the edge of the table with his hands. "Oh… oh… oh yes! Oh… oh yes!" he screamed. Draco started to wildly buck his hips beneath the table while he kept his eyes closed in rapture. "Oh...oh...oh Sweet Merlin, Yes! Yes! YES!" Draco screamed with each "yes" being punctuated by a another thrust of his hips. On the final "yes" Draco shuddered in ecstasy as his release hit him.

Babbling signalled for a House Elf and whispered, "I'll have what he's having."

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